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Phuket’s Club Med to cough up public land, but will stay



PHUKET: Negotiations between Club Med management and the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organization (PPAO), which owns the land the resort sits on, concluded late this afternoon with the news that the resort will stay.

“Club Med has agreed to make three rai available as public land to be used as the local residents see fit, and with that we will renew the lease for the resort to stay,” PPAO President Paiboon Upatising told the Phuket Gazette.

“Club Med will talk with the local authorities and residents in Kata-Karon to determine exactly what the land will be used for, such as a football field, and Club Med will have to make that happen.

“The resort will be responsible for maintaining the public land, such as keeping it clean, and Club Med management will submit the residents’ request as a proposal to the PPAO to be approved.”

The process of having the PPAO approve the residents’ request will alleviate any fears of outlandish requests being made, but if approved the project will become a binding condition of the resort’s lease, he added.

“Also, the rent charged under the lease will increase from 3 million to 27 million baht a year,” Mr Paiboon said.

Threats of a protest earlier this year led to the PPAO agreeing to a public hearing before re-negotiating Club Med’s 30-year lease, which began in 1985 (story here).

The lease is set to expire on September 24 next year, and resort operators applied to renew the contract earlier this year (story here).

It was that application that spurred the April protest by Karon officials.

“For 30 years we have been waiting for the contract to expire,” Karon Subdistrict Chief (Kamnan) Winai Chidchiew said in April, arguing that the 39 rai of public land rented by the resort would be put to better use by locals.

The current lease requires the resort to pay rent and donations to the PPAO and Karon Municipality. The rent of 5,982 baht has not changed over the years, but the amount of donations has increased.

— Athip Karndee


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